Air Indian plane breaks in two in Kerala killing 17

Air Indian plane breaks in two in Kerala killing 17
The plane reportedly overshot the runway upon landing amid heavy rain. Source: EPA
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: Indian officials say an Air India Express plane with 190 people on board has crashed at an airport in the southern state of Kerala. The incident costs at least 17 lives. The two pilots were among the dead, the airline authority confirmed.

Aviation officials said, The Boeing 737, en route from Dubai, skidded off the runway in rain and broke in two after landing at Calicut airport.

The flight was repatriating Indians stranded by the coronavirus crisis.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the plane accident”. He express his sympathy for “those who lost their loved ones” in the crash.

According to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the rescue operation at the crash site has now been completed and survivors have been taken to hospitals in Calicut and Malappuram.

A senior police officer said, dozens of people were injured, 15 of them seriously.

What do we know about the crash?

The aircraft was carrying 184 passengers, including 10 infants, and six crew.

Flight IX 1134 crashed at 19:40 local time (14:10 GMT) on Friday, as it attempted to land for a second time at Calicut International Airport. The polots aborted the first attempt because of the heavy monsoon-season rainfall lashing Kerala.

The aircraft “overshot the runway in rainy conditions”, then plunged down a 35ft (10.6m) slope, before breaking in two, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri twitted.

The minister said a formal inquiry would be carried out by India’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).

S N Pradhan, the director general of India’s National Disaster Response Force, said Calicut airport had a “table-top runway” and that the aircraft fell into “a ditch” after skidding across it.

He said the impact with the bottom of the ditch caused the fuselage to break in two, and that the front half was “very badly mangled and damaged”.

First responders were able to rescue the passengers because the plane did not catch fire, Mr Puri told broadcaster DD News. Several people had to be cut free.

Kerala was being battered by heavy rains at the time of the plane’s descent. This heavy rainfall are usual in India at this time of year, due to the seasonal monsoon.

Dozens of people were feared dead in Kerala’s Idukki district earlier on Friday after monsoon-season floods triggered a landslide.

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